The wounds caused by the La Palma volcano are still open six months after the end of the eruption

Emergency personnel review the state of La Laguna after the eruption. / GERARDO ojedA/COBER

The deep imprint left by the palm volcano in the Aridane Valley has barely healed despite the efforts of the institutions

Carmen Delia Aranda

On December 13, 2021 at 10:21 p.m., the Canary Islands Volcanic Emergency Plan (Pevolca) ended
the eruption of Cumbre Vieja, which kept La Palma on edge for 85 days and eight hours. Today marks six months since the volcano fell silent forever giving way to the enormous task of alleviating all the damage it did.

Even
more than 2,000 people remain evicted; some lost their homes, others are waiting for the emission of harmful gases to stop before returning to their homes. The huge losses have left a trail of incalculable pain.

The destruction in figures

Between September 19 and December 13, the volcano ejected 159 million cubic meters of lava that covered
1,219 hectares, the equivalent of 1,707 football fields. In its wake, the flows buried 73.8 kilometers of roads and affected 2,988 buildings.
Some 7,000 people were evacuated. At least 2,000 have not returned home. The lava devoured buildings in Todoque, part of La Laguna and in neighborhoods such as El Pampillo, Los Campitos or El Paraíso. Its inhabitants are rehoused in the houses of relatives or in temporary accommodation. Just like the thousand neighbors of Puerto Naos and La Bombilla, neighborhoods that still register high concentrations of carbon dioxide incompatible with life. Some 300 affected have been living in a hotel for months.

Follow the emission of gases

It is unknown how long the
volcano degassingwhether months or years. The truth is that in some monitoring stations of La Bombilla, average daily values ​​of CO2 are recorded between 50,000 ppm (5%) and 215,000 ppm (21.5%). With more than 150,000 ppm, the inhalation of these gases is lethal.

Image taken by the production company I Love The World of the road recovery works. /

love the world

Material damage to public and private property amounts to
842 million euros. The destroyed buildings have been valued at 165 million; damage to roads at 228 million euros and the loss of farms at 200 million euros,
according to the report prepared by the Joint Commission for the reconstruction, recovery and support of the island of La Palma.

Impact on agriculture

The eruption took away the work of many people, especially farmers in the banana sector. It also paralyzed the activity of the Tazacorte fishermen, who were prohibited from fishing in that area of ​​the coast. The affected cattle herd has had to be relocated to shelters and municipal facilities. To revive agriculture and livestock, the central government transferred to the Canary Islands
€18.8 million. Of these, 14.6 million have been received by 2,974 banana producers and 536,000 euros have gone to fishermen and farmers.

The lava destroyed 370 cultivated hectares, especially banana trees. /

i love the world

Another sector hit has been tourism, especially in Puerto Naos, still evacuated.
1,533 workers affected by the volcano have benefited from a Temporary Employment Regulation File (ERTE) due to force majeure which expires on June 28. In addition, 740 freelancers, of the 826 who requested them, have received benefits for cessation of activity worth 2.84 million. Also
305 companies have received aid for the total loss of income. For now, they have received 4.15 million of the 15 planned, reveals the report. Through five employment plans, 1,446 people have been hired.

road repair

During this time, a road has been built to replace the roads that linked Las Manchas de Abajo with the coast. Work is being done on the recovery of the intersection of La Laguna and the roads of La Aldea, Marta, Aniceto, Todoque, El Corazoncillo, El Paraíso and Cruz Chica and a section of the LP-211, among others. In addition, from June 1,
4x4s can traverse the lava field on a track that unites the neighborhoods of La Laguna and Las Norias. Works on the coastal highway have also begun and are advancing with the opposition of the affected residents.

Gerardo Ojeda/Cober

The central and Canarian Government have bought 104 homes, of which
96 have been delivered. 121 modular houses have also been acquired, but only five wooden houses have been granted in the Aridane Valley. The volcano
destroyed a total of 1,345 homes. About 600 families lost their habitual residence.

The enormous volume of data collected during the eruption is already being studied by scientists. Among the objectives outlined is the development of
a National Seismic and Volcanological Surveillance Plan. The impact of the eruption on the
respiratory and mental health of the palm population.

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